The Skeptic's Dictionary

Web Name: The Skeptic's Dictionary






The Skeptic's Dictionary features definitions, arguments, and essays on hundreds of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions. It also features dozens of entries on logical fallacies, cognitive biases, perception, science, and philosophy. Also posted are over 20 years of reader comments. Click here for Index of all Reader Comments 04 Aug new reader comments: natural cancer cures; revision p-zombies 15 Jul update argument to ignorance 11 Jul new reader comments: Atlantis 04 Jul new reader comments: psychokinesis 02 July new reader comments: firewalking Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary Lourdes In 1858, at a grotto by the river Gave near Lourdes, France,  a 14-year-old peasant named Bernadette Soubirous claimed that the Virgin Mary, identifying herself as the Immaculate Conception, appeared to her some 18 times.* You'd think such a great number of visitations would have provided an opportunity to channel a short theological treatise of some significance. It seems, however, that the main message from the alleged mother of a god was: Pray and do penance for the conversion of the world. Oh, and take a drink of the spring water. more sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up) gods In a nutshell: Gods are beings with unnatural powers who never die. Some are believed to be the controllers or creators of various parts of nature. Many are thought to require worship and obedience from humans. These gods reward or punish us depending on whether we please them.  Stories of gods have been told in most societies that we know of going back at least 10,000 years. Gods are portrayed as beings who never die, with mighty powers, able to make nature do what they want. Most gods are pictured as being born and having parents. Some stories show gods as being able to change the weather and cause mighty storms, floods, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions. For the most part, scientists have replaced stories about gods with scientific explanations of how the universe was formed and how humans and other living creatures evolved. more a blast from the past December 9, 2010 Can Science Decide the God Question? ...belief in an omnipotent omniscient creator of the world does not in itself have any moral implications—it's still up to you to decide whether it is right to obey his commands.  --Steven Weinberg ...if human beings are anything special, we are the creatures that must ponder and talk. --Stephen Jay Gould 1 In Stephen Jay Gould's 1997 essay Nonoverlapping Magisteria, he innocently wrote: The lack of conflict between science and religion arises from a lack of overlap between their respective domains of professional expertise—science in the empirical constitution of the universe, and religion in the search for proper ethical values and the spiritual meaning of our lives. The attainment of wisdom in a full life requires extensive attention to both domains—for a great book tells us that the truth can make us free and that we will live in optimal harmony with our fellows when we learn to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. Then, all hell broke loose. more

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